Printable Version
Pronunciation: in-tê-mayt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: To hint at, subtly suggest, insinuate.

Notes: This verb is akin to the adjective intimate, pronounced [in-tê-mêt]; the adjective, however, means "personal, private, marked by close association". Intimation is the predictable noun for the verb. Intimately and intimacy are the adverb and noun for the adjective, respectively.

In Play: The verb implies very subtle expression: "If Claudia divined the drift of husband's affection for her sister, she did not intimate it by word or look." Sometimes the adjective implies a carnal relationship: "Claudia apparently didn't know that her husband was in an intimate relationship with her sister."

Word History: Both the adjective and verb comes from Latin intimatus, the past participle of intimare "to put or bring into, to impress, make familiar". This verb was derived from intimus "innermost, most intimate", the superlative degree of the adverb intus "into, within" created from the preposition in "in(to)". In, of course, originated in PIE en "in(to)", source also of Dutch, English, German, and Italian in, Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish i, and Greek, French and Spanish en. It also underlies Albanian inj "until, in", Welsh yn "in, at", Irish i "in, at, among", and Scottish Gaelic anns "in". We even see its remnants in Russian v "in". Proto-Slavic added an initial V and reduced the I, to produce v'n, visible in derivations like Russian vnutri "inside" and even v nego "in it", where ego means "it". Today public gratitude is owed Professor Kyu Ho Youm for suggesting today's most subtle Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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